Archives For Purpose

The Veil Calls

June 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

maya[pp]I struggle not so much with the chaos of the world as I do with how to reshape the world. My life must count beyond this life. I know it matters. I know there is an eternal world just thinly veiled beyond my walk. The veil solicits me to poke holes in it so the healing will leak in.

Matthew 27:51 (NKJV)
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

 

Prayer-The Puzzle Of Purpose

February 11, 2014 — 2 Comments

Prayer

Prayer is the framework that God uses to work His puzzle of purpose through our lives.

I have fond memories of my Grandmother. I loved staying  weekends at her home when I was growing up. I would be dropped off at her place on Friday evenings for the weekend. Saturday mornings were always the best. The smell of pancakes would draw me from the bed to kick off the day. I can still smell those pancakes with the nose in the memory of my mind. Another fond memory was working on puzzles with her. She often had a new puzzle waiting on her, and I to work on.

Puzzles are simple in concept but big on journey. A puzzle is an image that has been completed on a sturdy backing and then punched out with a press into random pieces that must be put back together. You open the box and pour out the content pieces and set the picture to the side for reference. You work to put the puzzle back to the original picture.

In John 4, Jesus said that His food was to do the will of Him that sent him and to accomplish that work. In other words, it’s as if Jesus were saying, “My life is His work and His work is my life. Jesus was sent to redeem humanity and the world that was once a picture called, “Good” in the garden but now broken and in need of being put back together. He was sent to bring the future picture of Revelation 21 to completion and we too are a part of that puzzle of purpose.

Jesus prayed. He prayed daily, and that connection with the Father brought power and direction into His life in order to put each piece of the puzzle that He was called to work, back into place. Our lives as Christ-followers are the same. We too must be people of the puzzle. Prayer is the framework God uses to work His puzzle of purpose through our lives.

We don’t untimely pray to gain favor with God. I’m favored in Him when I have plenty and when I have nothing. He is enough all on His own in my life and yours. We pray to reflex God to the world and to bring justice, peace and Righteousness into the broken puzzle of this world. Prayer is meaningful because it brings the message and mission of God into your life and into the world.

It’s been said, ““One way to ensure we keep God in our lives is to keep him in our days.” We do that by prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, or better yet-the disciple’s prayer is a great framework to keep God in our days and thus reflect Him to this world. The first part of the prayer starts with God and rightfully so to keep us from collapsing into self-centeredness. Take a look at the prayer with me.

Matthew 6:9-16 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

We are called together corporately as a family in the address, “Our Father.” Yes, we pray as individuals but as a family also. We are able to pray because He is, “hallowed” in our lives and prayers. He is set, not to the side but in the center of our lives. Our call to prayer is more of an invitation than a command. We are being asked to step into the heart of Jesus, and when we do, all self-centeredness must not enter.

10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We must become the answer to this prayer. Every time we exert the kingdom of heaven in this world God’s will (purpose) is felt by the world and another section of the puzzle is put into place.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

The Lord meets daily provision of our needs. When we pray verse eleven we are developing an awareness of dependence.

12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

We owe a debt to God, and the good news is we don’t have to pay. The payment was paid on the cross. We must accept the forgiveness and walk in that forgives toward others. Another section of the puzzle gets placed into the world.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

We are reminded with full awareness of the battle that we fight but when we watch and pray we find that God is greater in us than all that is in the world. N.T. Wright reminds us, “If we follow a crucified Messiah, we shouldn’t expect to be spared the darkness ourselves. But we must, and may, pray to be kept from its worst ravages, and to be delivered from evil, both in the abstract and in its personified form, ‘the evil one’.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is the greatest part of the puzzle. We are people of the future sent to bring forgiveness to a world shattered.

Pray through this prayer today and it will become the framework that God uses to work His puzzle of purpose through your life.

follow

Luke 5:4 (ESV) And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,  “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

The most beautiful mystery of scripture is that God pursues you that you might pursue Him. God sent His Son so that all humanity has an opportunity of Salvation. He came to us and died for us while were yet sinners separated from Him. The pursuit of God is indeed beautiful and mysterious. The pursuit of God is always that you might follow.

Simply hearing the invitation to follow Him is not following. Talking about the invitation to follow is not following. Admiring those who have accepted the invitation to follow is not following. You only become a follower of Christ when you follow. In other words, you become something by doing.

Many years ago, my cousin used to talking about repelling down mountains all the time. Almost every time I was around him he would be telling stories of his latest adventure. His passion was evident as you listened to him.

After many months of hearing about repelling, listening to his stories and admiring the accomplishments he had performed, I was compelled to try the sport myself.

I asked him to take me repelling, and he did. The climb up the mountain was free. The view from the top of the mountain was free. Getting geared up for repelling was free. Watching him do it first was free. Doing it myself cost me something.

It cost me leaning back over the cliff and trusting the rope to hold me, and actually repelling down the face of the mountain. Once I reached the bottom of the mountain, I could and did officially call myself a repeller.

The same is true when it comes to following God. There are many who call themselves Christians, but it is quite another thing to call yourself a Christ follower. To call yourself a follower you must follow. You become a follower by following.

When Jesus told Peter to put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch, He was inviting Him one step closer to following Him. He was asking Peter to trust that He could make more out of life than Peter ever could on his own. When you respond to the leading of Jesus you are one step closer to following Jesus.

We know how the story ends. Peter obeys and a great catch of fish begins to break the nets. Peter is blown away and confesses that he is a sinful man. The command to follow is then given, and Peter’s life is changed forever. He moves past just hearing, listening and admiring. He becomes a follower by following.

I want you to know today that you will never become the true you until you follow God. You can never be fully human the way God intends for you to be unless you follow. You must do something to be something. The doing I’m referring to is to follow Him and bring Him the glory He alone rightfully deserves.

Kyle Idleman once wrote, “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.”

Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you something. You become a follower by following.

scar

I have a scar on the palm side of my left hand, near the base of my thumb. I once had an accident while hunting and cut it open. The only thing I had on hand in the woods was some crazy clue I had in my bag. I poured that into the cut and pinched my skin together to stop the bleeding and to close up the injury.

I finished my hunt, returned to my truck for the drive home. Everything seemed fine until I grab hold of the steering wheel. I felt a shock go through my whole body followed by pain I can’t even begin to describe. I looked at my cut and couldn’t see anything, but I knew something was not right.

Over the next couple of days,  I kept hitting my injury on random objects and every time the pain would just grow worse. A shock of pain would course through my body and almost bring me to my knees.  I would look at my wound and to the naked eye it seemed to be healing just fine. However, it wasn’t fine. There was a major problem.

I went to the doctor, and he informed me that I did a excellent job with my homemade superglue stitching, but with a pause in his speech and funny smile on his face, He informed me I had made one big mistake.  I had left a never exposed and that was the reason I was feeling so much pain. He would have to open  my injury and take care of it.

He did a great job. He took care of the exposed nerve, and the pain went away. However, for some strange reason, whenever I rub my finger across the scar it tingles and has a numb feeling. It feels weird. It shoots a numb feeling down the length of my thumb.

So, what’s the lesson? What’s the devotion? Scar will be imposed upon us in this life that you can be sure of. Some scars are self-inflicted while other scars are inflicted upon us by friends and strangers. Either way, the scars remain and although the hurt often fades away, numbness and tingling seem to remain.  Some scars in this life simply have odd, yet funny memories attached to them, much like the one I just shared with you.

However, other scars are painful in a very intrusive and controlling way. There are scars attached to injustices and evil that was conveyed upon you. You are not alone. Jesus experienced that kind of scaring also. He was beating and placed upon a cross. Nails were driven  in his hands and feet. He was stabbed in the side, and blood and water flowed. He took the scars for you and I.

You are not alone. He stands with you. His scars point to the day pain and tears will be no more. When I look at my scars on my body I surely have memories. Some of the memories are not bad while others haunt me, especially the scars of my soul. However, I see the future. I embrace the future. How about you?

Jesus came and stood among the disciples. He spoke to them, Peace be with you as he showed them his hands and his side.

sheepfence

Caution! Looking over the fence can lead to cutting your chin. A better usage of your chin is to bow it in prayer, thanksgiving at the feet of Jesus. Bowing your chin in prayer and thanksgiving acknowledges Christ as Lord. Cutting your chin on the fence revels the desire to be the center of the universe and last I checked, neither you, nor I can run the universe. The call of the Christ follower has never been to look for what we already have. We have everything. We have been rescued. We have Him.

I guess looking over the fence started in the garden. God assured Adam and Eve that He had everything in control and hadn’t missed a detail. He even gave details about the tree to leave alone. Guess what? That tree soon became their “fence.” The enemy introduced a very seductive word. That word was introduced to get them to look over the fence. That word was, “surely.” The serpent spoke, “You will not surely die.” In other words,  the lie was, “You don’t have all that you need.”

Looking over the fence is a hard one to resist. We all want answers that fit with how we think it should be or how we think it ought to be. Therefore, we often think to ourselves, the answers I’m looking for are surely on the other side of the fence. After all, I can smell the barbecue goodness coming from the other side. I can hear the laughter of plenty. They never seem to hurt or want for anything on the other side of the fence.

Life always seems better elsewhere, but it’s not.  What is out of our touch, or inaccessible, often seems of more wealth than what is present and sanctioned in our life on God’s side of the fence. It seems to be in our human nature to desire what we can’t have, and at the same time despise what we have right under our feet.

I’ve often found I start looking over the fence when I stop ministry to God. Ministering to God is the safest place to be. When I totally surrender to the beauty of sitting at His feet, the fence has no power and the voices on the other side grow strangely dim, and my soul gives way to a song.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23:5-6

Whisper

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now. Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.” A. W. Tozer

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now.”

That’s correct. You serve a ‘now’ God.  God can move in your life at this present time or moment. Take a breath and then Whisper to your soul, “God is closer than the air I just breathed.” I challenge you today to be mindful of Gods presence in your life. He doesn’t just drop in for a visit. God lives inside of you if you are a Christ follower. You are submerged in the unconditional perfect love of the God of the ‘now.’ The future can’t be experienced, and the past is consumed in the annuals of time.  You only have this moment and God has you in this moment. Whisper to your soul, The ‘now’ God is completely loving me right now!

“Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here.”

The scriptures declare that God is the great “I Am.” You don’t have to  look back at a past event God has performed for His glory and wonder if He can do a great miracle where you are in the present. If God can do a miracle anywhere, He can do it where you are.  He is not the “I was” or the “I might be.”  He is the “I Am.” Whisper to your soul, “God is here.”

“Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.”

You are His child. He loves and cares for you. Be awake to what he wants to do for you in order to bring Him glory. Be awake to the fact that it’s not about you in the first place. Life is about bringing God glory. You have been chosen to bring Him glory, and therefore, He will do for you in order to make much of Him. You are a branch attached to Jesus, the source of life. He is the vine, and we are just branches that produce fruit for His glory. Whisper to your soul, “He will do for me and through me what best brings Him glory.”

May this day be the great day you have hoped for! Whisper to your soul, “Let it be.”

scab_healing

Don’t pick at your scabs! Healing can’t fully take place if you’re constantly picking at the very healing your body is trying to do for you. The same thing is true with emotional and spiritual wounds. They hurt and often feel like death is to follow, but soon, if you allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in you- scabs will form, and the healing underneath can actually begin.

It will be tempting to pick at the scabs. They will turn red and swollen. They will itch like crazy from time to time also. However, don’t pick them. Scabs are for a reason. Healing is taking place below the surface. You can’t see it, but one day you will see the beauty of the healing when the scabs naturally fall away.

Will any scares remain? Sometimes scars will hang around.  If scars show after the healing, don’t get upset. Instead of getting upset, try smiling because you are in good company. Jesus had a few scars also and even showed them off to the disciples.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.  ~ Charles Kingsley

shadow_by_tihku

Be it my Heavy Metal Band of the 80’s, (click here to enjoy or laugh) or being a pastor for more than 24 years, I’ve always been on stage under the lights. It’s my role in life. I’m always in front of people. I’m usually the one that gets the recognition and applauds of the crowd. I’ve never felt like I’m the one that picked myself to be upfront.  I feel like being upfront  selected me. I know for sure God called me to preach, and that by default, has put in front of people for many years.

At times,  I don’t mind being up front. I know it’s my call and responsibility. At other times,  it feels like a curse. I’m always being evaluated, sometimes in a good way and then at other times in a bad way. At any given time,  it’s a mixed bag of opinions sitting right in front of me. To top it all off God watches it all go down.

There are some among us, (maybe you) which have a desire to be in the spotlight. Don’t misunderstand me; it’s not wrong to have that desire, just don’t miss the beauty of serving in the shadows. You are among truly esteemed company when you do. Many down through the history of following Christ have served in the shadows. Timothy served in the shadows. Gaius served in the shadows. Tertius served in the shadows.

Something tells me that one-day, those in the shadows will be brought into the light, and the last shall be first. It seems to me that serving in the shadows is underrated in the here and now, but will one day be elevated beyond anything you can imagine. If you are serving in the shadows, don’t get discouraged with your call. God is watching even when no one see’s what you are doing. Hagar gave God a name, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13a)

Keep serving in the shadows. God will reward you soon enough, and I will be watching from the back of the line with a smile as you get your rewards to lay at His feet.

another-purpose1

Revelation 4:11   Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

God did not need to create you; He chose to create you.

You were created by God’s choice for the work of His purpose.

One of the most disconcerting things in this world is to believe you don’t matter, that your life has no reason or rhyme.

Inside your heart,  you believe and say things like:

  • I’m useless
  • I’m a waste of space
  • I’m not good enough
  • I have no worth.

We all know what that kind of emptiness feels like. Adam and Eve were created for a purpose but lost their way when they tried to go their own way. God found them in their brokenness and called them to follow him to healing.

God did not create you to be insignificant.

However, don’t misunderstand; life is not ultimately about you.

It’s about God and His glory.

Your significance comes through showing Christ significant to a lost and dying world.

To go deeper and find out more, view the video message of Identity Check Part 4- Created For The Work Of His Purpose.